Back in mid-October I bought this:
... the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine. I'd read a lot of reviews online, good and bad. It seemed that people either really loved it or totally hated it. I just wanted an alternative to knitting row after row of stockinette stitch in worsted weight yarn. I love hand knitting, but boring is boring.
So I had one of those spiffy 50% coupons Joann's sometimes puts out and decided that at $80 it was worth a try. I could always return it. It was a few weeks before I finally got it out of the box and set it up on the kitchen table. I followed the video that comes with it, step by step. Totally frustrating, but I finally got it to work and knit up half of the worsted acrylic yarn that came with it.
I wasn't too impressed. First, bright yellow acrylic yarn? Second, the stitches were huge. I used keyplate 3 as recommended in the video then tried keyplate 2, which did look a little nicer. Still...
Fast forward a few more weeks. I've dug out my 15 year old copy of Catherine Cartwright-Jones' The Prolific Knitting Machine and read a bit, poured over the archives of The Bond Club Online at the iwannaknit group at Yahoo, and watched several videos (big thanks to Brenda Bell) along with the one that came with the Bond. I'm checking out Knitter's Review knitting machine forum. I am ready.
I wanted an alternative to the kitchen table to set it up on, so Brian and I looked at clamping a board to his workbench in the basement. I still might use that, especially since the board could handle several extensions, but for now I've set it up on my dresser. Worked just fine.
Remember this? I returned the Nature Spun and bought enough navy Cascade 220 for my WVU sweater. It's darker than the Nature Spun but a much nicer yarn, with very subtle heathering. Here's my gauge swatch (the navy is photographing dark):
A swatch only a mother could love: curling stockinette, fresh off the Bond. Keyplate 3 was used on the top section, then 2, then 1. The yellow is only there as waste yarn and to separate the three sections. I tugged it sideways and lengthwise and am going to let it rest a day or so, as recommended in the Bond Club archives. Right now it looks like keyplate 2 produces the best fabric, not too loose or tight.
Looking forward to measuring for gauge and getting started on this baby!